Many C-suite executives break out in a cold sweat when they hear the phrase ‘digital transformation’ because it brings to mind massive business process re-engineering exercises, substantial technology investments, and widespread upheaval in the everyday running of the business.
Yet digital success need not mean throwing out a lot of existing technology and hiring hundreds of new people to turn the company into a digital enterprise.
It can simply start with looking at ways to leverage the skills, technology and data the organisation already has in place to create better customer experiences and new ways of working.
The right place to begin is by auditing the data, systems and skills the business already has to see how they can map onto the needs of the digital customer. Most organisations have a range of digital channels and systems in place – from the marketing team’s investments in CRM software and partnerships with digital media agencies, through to the platforms the customer service team uses to stay on top of social media.
The real challenge comes from bringing these siloes together.
This is all about creating an enterprise customer experience architecture that provides a framework for the evolution of the business, from one with some fragmented digital channels and practices to one that offers a unified and consistent experience to customers, no matter how they choose to engage.
Such an architecture will document the brand’s marketing channels, systems, databases, content assets and digital skills and their role in the customer experience and customer journey. It will provide an as-is view of how the organisation engages with customers across different touchpoints and devices as well as a to-be perspective of how the digital customer experience should look in the future.
With this roadmap in place, most organisations will find that they already have digital skills in various parts of their business, a wealth of usable customer data and technology platforms to support their digital evolution.
This will equip them to start joining their isolated digital initiatives into a more holistic digital strategy for the business, building on what they have and investing incrementally.
The process also allows the business to identify the short term, medium and long-term focus areas, through the analysis of business effort versus value creation that each of the strategies will enable. This starts to provide roadmaps for skills development and technology investments that will ultimately create value and drive revenue.
Brands can evolve towards this long-term vision at a pace that suits their business model and their budget, gradually introducing innovations that deliver better customer experiences, better conversion rates and better customer satisfaction.
Provided there is an overarching vision driven and supported from the top, a company can chart its way to the digital future without needing to throw billions of rand at the process.